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The Lot’s Wife “LOTS OF NEWS” Weekly Update

Image Credit: Guillermo Arias/AFP

BY RAFAL ALUMAIRY

WEEK OF MONDAY TO SUNDAY, 20-26 APRIL 2020

Editor’s Note: Opinions expressed in the piece are not necessarily the views of the Lot’s Wife Editorial Board

 

NON-VIRUS NEWS

  • Anzac Day was solemnly observed across the country in homes and driveways yesterday at dawn. There were live and pre-recorded broadcasts from the Australian War Memorial and the Shrine of Remembrance. Lest we forget.
  • Saudi Arabia has abolished flogging as a punishment, which is basically the abolition of all physical punishment for crimes or political dissent, although the country still has the death penalty (AFP).
  • Community media is under attack for no apparent reason. The Federal Government is going to switch off Channel 31 (Melbourne, the station RMITV is on) and Channel 44 (Adelaide), saying they have to stick to online (ABC). They are the only community TV stations left in Australia. This is a real tragedy for independent media and for any creative person that wants creative freedom. We have fought for fucking decades to broadcast on air, and now they’re taking it away. 
  • Kanye West is now a billionaire, if you care. He’s been trying to get on the billionaire list for years and now he’s finally on it (Forbes).
  • Save the Children (charity) told the Bushfire Royal Commission that children affected by the fires may suffer long-term mental health impacts because the Government did not provide them proper support. (The Age)
  • Ramadan has started, it’s been weird. (Rafal’s diary)
  • Thousands of landlords in the Northern Territory have signed a petition to stop tenants having the right to have pets in their rented homes. (ABC News)
  • Four police officers killed on a Melbourne highway after a semi-trailer truck hit them. They were stopping a speeding Porsche at the time. The driver of the Porsche fled the scene, and has since been tracked down. (The Guardian)
  • Trump says he’s told the navy to fire on any Iranian ship that “harass” US ships at sea. Last week Iranian ships came very close to US ships in the Gulf (which is in the Middle East). Iran said America are bullies. (Al Jazeera)
  • Ben Cousins was arrested in Perth. He is famous, apparently. (The Age)

 

CORONAVIRUS NEWS

THE WORLD

2,897,883 cases, 202,880 deaths

  • WHO says there’s no evidence that people can’t get coronavirus again after recovering from it, which is terrifying. They say this is why “immunity passports” are a bad idea.
  • Young and middle-aged people, positive for COVID-19 but barely symptomatic, are having severe strokes in New York. Only a few cases of this have been reported, but it might be a clue to the weird way the virus affects our bodies. Also, it’s terrifying. (Washington Post)
  • The chief of the UN’s food relief agency, the World Food Programme, says we are facing a famine “of biblical proportions”, with “people literally marching to the brink of starvation. If we don’t get food to people, people will die.” 

 

AUSTRALIA

6,710 cases, 83 deaths

  • Scott Morrison PM says there is little risk of teachers catching the virus from students, based on a NSW Health report. This report is also the basis of many schools reopening across the country. The Victoria government says no, it won’t reopen schools just yet. The Victorian opposition wants schools to reopen immediately. (The Age)
  • Federal inquiry into the way we’re handling the coronavirus response is going to happen when Parliament returns, Labor wants it sooner rather than later. A separate NSW inquiry is interviewing people about the Ruby Princess cruise ship thing at the moment. (The Guardian)
  • Labor has accused the Liberal government of pushing a right wing agenda during the crisis, using the pandemic as a cover to cut taxes, reduce regulations and attack unions. (The Saturday Paper)
  • Some good journalism: “The health minister has announced a critical health resource information system will operate in all intensive care units. The Government calls that CHRIS. The Guardian style guide declares I call it Chris.” 😂
  • Some elective surgeries are now allowed, including IVF, post cancer procedures, joint replacements and all procedures for anyone under 18. (ABC News)
  • Coles and Woolies are doing online deliveries again. 
  • 517,000 jobseeker claims processed by Centrelink in the last six weeks, which is what we’d usually process in a year. (The Guardian)
  • Australia’s Foreign Minister called for an international investigation into the virus, China was mad about it, they said Peter Dutton is a mouthpiece for the US, and said Australia was being “highly irresponsible” and playing “political games”. (ABC News)
  • The ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) says 713,300 people lost their job in the first weeks of the virus restrictions, and workers under the age of 20 are taking the biggest hit.
  • Virgin Australia goes into voluntary administration, which means that it’s doing very badly and it’s almost gonna go broke, so they’re getting a third party (Deloitte) to hopefully sort them out. Virgin asked the Australian government to help them and the government said no, mainly because Virgin Australia is mostly owned by non-Australians. It will mean that we basically have only one airline for a while, Qantas (which owns Jetstar), and it might make flying miserable. People are divided on whether or not we should’ve/should help Virgin. (Sydney Morning Herald)
  • Remote Aboriginal communities all over Australia are having concerns with supply and pricing of food. Some regional stores say they won’t raise prices during the pandemic, but the prices were already high to begin with, and still may mean some people may leave country for food and risk bringing the virus back. There are also moves to secure food stock in remote communities to ensure food security (that is, that there are no shortages) (National Indigenous Times)

 

VICTORIA

1,349 cases, 17 deaths

  • Scientists at Monash University are running a human trial using ivermectin, commonly used as a head-lice drug, against COVID-19, despite concerns from other scientists that it’s unlikely to be useful in safe doses. (The Age)
  • Deakin says it has no choice but to fire some people. It also says it’s very disappointed about the way the government has not provided any assistance to international students. (ABC News)
  • 16 people fined $1652 each after parents threw their eight year old a birthday party in Beaumaris (wealthy suburb near Black Rock and Mentone) (Herald Sun)
  • Racists target a cute Chinese-Australian family minding their own business in Knoxfield, which is about 30 minutes from Monash. The graffiti read “COVID-19 China die”, which does not make sense for many reasons, and the following day someone smashed one of their windows with a rock. (ABC News)
  • Two Melbourne Uni international students minding their own business were assaulted by two other women in the city. From the video it looks like this within a few minutes of the State Library, in the insulated walkway bit near some construction. The students say the woman screamed “coronavirus” and “get the fuck out of our country, you don’t belong here”. The attacker was arrested and is out on bail. (Nine News)
  • Someone made the Julia Gillard statue in Ballarat a crochet face mask. (Nine News)
  • A Liberal MP from Kew (the same guy from last week who was mad about the golf) is backing either moving or culling flying foxes (type of bat), despite no evidence that bats need culling and the fact that these animals are a threatened and protected species in Victoria. (Nine News, The Age)

 

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

549 cases, 8 deaths

  • Perth Airport has blocked Virgin Australia from getting to its planes, because Virgin has outstanding invoices worth millions. QANTAS defended Virgin on Saturday and said Perth Airport needs to take a chill pill. (WA Today)

 

QUEENSLAND

1,030 cases, 6 deaths

  • Queensland is now letting up to 20 people go to funerals, it’s gonna ease restrictions even more in a week’s time. (Brisbane Times)

 

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

438 cases, 4 deaths

  • Another fool coughed in a police officer’s face and said he has coronavirus, he’s been arrested and is going to go to court. (He was being arrested for something else before coughing on the officer) (The Advertiser)

 

NORTHERN TERRITORY

28 cases, 0 deaths

  • The August election is going ahead, there are worries about remote communities voting during the crisis, some worries it might be unfair to hold the elections on the planned dates. (Northern Territory News)

 

OUR NEIGHBOURS

  • Vanuatu is broadcasting cricket live, one of the only countries in the world with a public sporting event. (Associated Press)
  • French Polynesia reckons it’s stopped the circulation of COVID-19 (RNZ News)

 

UNITED KINGDOM

149,569 cases, 20,381 deaths

  • Boris Johnson PM returning to work tomorrow, says he’s “raring to go” (Sky News)
  • A steel company (UK’s biggest steel producer) wants about a billion AUD from the government to bail them out. They employ 8,385 people. (The Guardian)
  • People are annoyed that this guy Trevor Phillips was selected to investigate why COVID-19 is killing more minority ethnic people than white people, because he was suspended from the Labour Party after being accused of Islamophobia. (The Guardian)
  • Mobile phone data suggests people are starting to head back outside as the weather warms up. (The Independent)

 

SPAIN

223,759 cases, 22,902 deaths

  • Spain is considering letting people out for exercise more frequently as they continue to control the virus. (New York Times)

 

ITALY

195,351 cases, 26,384 deaths

  • A professional cyclist has become a food delivery person to stay in shape for Italy’s annual bike race (which has been postponed indefinitely but will hopefully happen later in the year). (AFP)

 

GERMANY

156,513 cases, 5,877 deaths

  • About a thousand people have been holding rallies protesting against lockdown laws every week in Berlin.
  • According to the Guardian these protests were mainly by left-wing people, but there were some right-wing people there.
  • Dozens arrested. (Reuters)

 

AUSTRIA

15,148 cases, 536 deaths

  • 200 people show up for a similar protest against lockdowns in Vienna. Police say one person was arrested; there is a photo of police pinning the man to the ground in The Independent.

 

BELARUS

9590 cases, 67 deaths

  • President (an autocrat) has not and will not impose restrictions to limit the virus, telling reporters “There are no viruses here. Do you see any of them flying around? I don’t see them either.” As of 10.30am Sunday, Johns Hopkin is reporting 9,590 cases and 67 deaths in Belarus. Some suggest the real figures are being suppressed. On the other hand, the president has dismissed the official death toll, saying those people died from underlying causes. Of one victim who was overweight, he said “the virus attacks the weak”. He has also claimed on television that they’ve found a cure. (New York Times)

 

US

939,053 cases, 53,934 deaths

  • A doctor questioned the malaria drug that isn’t proven yet but Trump is saying is a cure for COVID-19, he was fired. The doctor worked for a federal agency helping develop a vaccine. (New York Times)
  • US Airlines getting a total of US$12.4 billion in bailout money so far, going to 10 major airlines and 83 smaller ones. (Reuters)
  • Trump said the thing about putting disinfectant or light in your body to kill the virus
  • He was mocked around the world for it, including (briefly) on less popular shows on Fox News.
  • First, the White House said the media took the comments “out of context”
  • This was a view echoed by ultra right-wing news service Breitbart.
  • They then changed their mind and Trump said he was being sarcastic.
  • On Friday he did a short briefing compared to usual and did not take any questions.
  • On Sunday, he did not do a press briefing
  • So some people think he’s been told to stay away from the briefings because it’s going to hurt his election campaign (the election is in November this year). (New York Times)
  • Tesla is bringing some workers back to factories in California next week. San Francisco still has a stay-at-home order on. It is unclear whether the Government considers them an “essential business” or not. (Bloomberg)
  • Protests by conservatives across the country against stay-at-home orders. They oppose the orders because they don’t think the Government should have the right to tell them what to do even during a pandemic. The Guardian says most of the protests were very small, with a dozen or so people. Some were larger. The protestors did not abide by social distancing protocols. Trump tweeted support for the protestors in Democratic states. (The Guardian)
  • The death toll in New York is flattening, meaning people are still dying but the numbers are evening out, so they think they’re hitting the peak of casualties. (New York Times)

 

ECUADOR

22,719 cases, 576 deaths

  • In the coronavirus confusion, health authorities misidentified a body as Aura Maruri’s sister, Alba. Aura had the body cremated, and then found out it was someone else’s body. Her sister Alba is still alive (Reuters).

 

NORTH KOREA

??? cases, ??? deaths

  • People are saying Kim Jong-un is sick, South Korea says he’s not, he had a surgery though and North Korea says he was in an “uncomfortable physical condition”, some people think they saw his train at a resort so he might be resting there, basically no one really knows what’s happening. (The Guardian)

 

JAPAN

13,231 cases, 360 deaths

  • The mayor of Osaka said men should do the grocery shopping during the crisis because women “take a long time”. (CNN)

 

MYANMAR

146 cases, 5 deaths

  • A WHO driver was killed while transporting virus swabs, he was 28. This is so sad. The vehicle came under gunfire. It’s unclear what actually happened, I can’t tell if the vehicle was targeted specifically because it was from WHO or if it was just an accident, although the vehicle was marked as being from the UN. The area that it happened has been part of fight between the Myanmar military and insurgent (rebel) group Arakan Army, and both have denied responsibility for the attack. (Reuters)

 

PALESTINE

342 cases, 2 deaths

  • The Gaza Strip sewing factories are working at full capacity for the first time in years to make gowns, gloves and masks. They are being sent all over the world, including Israel. Workers make as little as $8 a day. (Associated Press)

 

Thank you for reading and stay safe!

Rafal is a philosophy/literature student at Monash. They are currently writing a book on the history of student radio in Australia. You can learn more about their project here.

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